Free e-cycle loans for Leicester locals at community hub

Woman wearing black jacket and blue jeans smiles as she pedals black e-bike through park, trees and grass in background.
Free e-cycle loans and skills and confidence sessions are available to communities across England. Photo: Joe Cotterill
Cycling UK’s Making cycling e-asier, which provides the public with free trials of e-cycles, is opening its first community hub at Leicester Bike Park. The charity hopes it will provide more opportunities for Leicester residents to go electric
  • Free one-month e-cycle loans on offer at Leicester Bike Park through Making cycling e-asier, the national e-cycle promotion project, run by Cycling UK and funded by Department for Transport
  • ​The scheme aims to encourage communities to consider using e-cycles as an active travel option for everyday journeys
  • Photos available at

The new Making cycling e-asier community hub will open on Monday 20 February, when the first e-cycle loans will be collected by beneficiaries.

Located in Town Hall Square in the centre of the City of Leicester, free one-month loans are now available to book, and skills and confidence sessions will be rolled out in the coming months. Leicester residents will be able to access the scheme until October 2023.

Supported by an expert consortium of industry partners and funded by the Department for Transport, the scheme aims to give more than 6,000 Leicester locals the opportunity to discover the benefits of e-cycling for short everyday journeys through community hubs, selected workplaces and Evans Cycles.

Currently 59% of journeys under five miles are driven, however the cost-of-living-crisis is pushing many to consider alternative and cheaper ways to travel. Making cycling e-asier aims to support communities across England by encouraging them to pedal when they can.

As people struggle with the impact on the cost of living and look for greener ways to travel, we hope we can help many more people to consider e-cycling as an everyday affordable mode of transport

Jenny Box, deputy director of Making cycling e-asier 

By giving people the opportunity to discover the cost, health and environmental benefits of e-cycling, it is hoped that Making cycling e-asier will help them make the decision to pedal more and cut down on unnecessary short car journeys.

E-cycles offer pedal assistance and give users an extra boost which can make cycling, especially up hills, less strenuous and more accessible.

Blue Kang, who loaned an e-cycle from Evans Cycles in Leicester, said:

“Having heard about the scheme, I was so pleased to see it launching in Leicester and immediately signed up. I haven’t ridden a bicycle for 45 years while driving cars, so now aged 63 and semi-retired, having an e-bike was helpful in keeping me active, but also for getting me out and about.

“It really gave me the confidence to get back cycling and be conscious and aware of what’s happening on the roads. Then I ventured around local cycle routes and saw amazing places which were not visible when driving in a car on main roads. I would honestly and highly recommend this to anyone regardless of age, it’s been such a wonderful and enjoyable experience.”

Cycling Minister Jesse Norman commented:

“E-cycles can play a vital part in helping more people, including older people and those with disabilities, to stay active for their local journeys, boosting health while reducing congestion and helping the environment.

“That is why the Government has invested £8m in the Making cycling e-asier campaign, in addition to the cycle to work scheme to help more people use e-cycles.”

Jenny Box, deputy director of Making cycling e-asier, said:

“Cycling UK is delighted to launch the first Making cycling e-asier community hub in Leicester. Working with local projects across England allows us to reach a wide audience, to encourage them to try using an e-cycle for short journeys.

“Making cycling e-asier’s loans and skills and confidence sessions are completely free. As people struggle with the impact on the cost of living and look for greener ways to travel, we hope we can help many more people to consider e-cycling as an everyday affordable mode of transport.”

Councillor Adam Clarke, deputy city mayor for Leicester, added:

“Since 2012, we have invested more than £70m in creating cycling-friendly streets, people-friendly public squares, public transport hubs and cycle tracks along main roads – and this work is continuing, with work getting under way now to link up a route from new Lubbesthorpe into the city.

“Making cycling as easy and safe as possible is key in changing the way people choose to travel and helping to tackle the climate emergency. Our city centre bike park offers free secure cycle parking and is an ideal community hub for loans of these e-cycles.

“Making cycling e-asier will be a great scheme to complement our work on active travel in Leicester, giving people the chance to take out an extended e-cycle loan and try before they buy.”

In recent years, Leicester has made big strides in making everyday cycling accessible to everyone. According to a 2019 survey, 18,000 daily trips were taken by bicycle in the city.

Leicester City Council is supporting Making cycling e-asier for city residents. Cycle training, confidence rides, route-finding, social projects, ongoing bike hire and support for people of all abilities are available from the city and county’s dedicated sustainable travel site, Choose how you move.

Communities in Leicester can also currently access free one-month e-cycle loans from Evans Cycles, Unit 5, Haymarket Shopping Centre, Humberstone Gate, Leicester, LE1 3PH.

The e-cycle programme delivers part of the Prime Minister’s ambitious Cycling and Walking Plan (Gear Change) to boost cycling and walking, with a vision for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030.

Cycling UK’s extensive experience of engaging with underrepresented groups means the organisation recognises the barriers, challenges and perceptions that can deter people from trying cycling. Through a tried and tested behavioural change models, Cycling UK has the ability to deliver projects and programmes that attract diverse groups and empower communities.

People can sign up and find more information about the scheme via Cycling UK’s website.

One-month e-cycle loans are based on a first-come-first-serve basis with limited availability.

Confirmed Making cycling e-asier partners supporting the delivery include Evans Cycles, Raleigh Bikes, Specialized, Tier Mobility, Islabikes, Wheels for All, Bikeworks, Fusion Media, Modeshift, Cyclescheme, Bike Right, Sharebike and Transport for Quality of Life.

Notes to editors

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About Cycling UK

Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often.

About DfT

The Department for Transport works with its agencies and partners to support the transport network that helps the UK’s businesses and gets people and goods travelling around the country. It plans and invests in transport infrastructure to keep the UK on the move.

The new executive agency, Active Travel England, will deliver the Government’s cycling and walking priorities, enabling more people in England to choose walking and cycling for their everyday journeys.

Press contact information

For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900-1700) please call Joanne Clark on 07917 243925 or email Out of hours, call 07584 271 300 .